Breaking Ground on a Multipurpose Outdoor Facility at Ingram-Pye Elementary School

Barbara Kieker

Monday, August 25th, 2014

On August 20th, a groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new outdoor education and recreation facility at Ingram-Pye Elementary School.  The facility will include a playground funded by a grant from GE Capital, a ball field funded by donations gathered by Leadership Macon and a community garden funded by grants from Perdue Farms and Macon/Bibb Consolidated Government. This spring the Leadership Macon Class of 2014 adopted the garden project as its class community improvement project.

"We are coordinating the efforts of different entities to make the project happen," said Jay Evans, Houston Area Director of United Way of Central Georgia and a member of the Leadership Macon Class of 2014. 

"Leadership Macon got involved in March of this year but individual groups were working with the school prior to that." 

Leadership Macon is an annual program that brings together outstanding leaders in the community to discuss and learn about the challenges facing Middle Georgia.  The program promotes civic responsibility by encouraging involvement, as well as breeding enthusiasm and dedication. The first Leadership Macon class was held in 1979 and the program boasts 600 alumni. 

Coordinating the efforts of many partners

Coordination among many partners is a central component of the projects at Ingram-Pye.  GE Capital has provided financial and volunteer support to Ingram-Pye Elementary School for years.  Its support has provided a mobile computing, replenished the library and funded educational programs.  GE Capital volunteers mentor students in math, reading and technology.  The company provided a $30,000 grant for the new playground. 

"Ingram-Pye is one of many area schools without a playground.  We're [United Way of Central Georgia] doing our best to fix that over the next several years throughout the Middle Georgia area," Evans said. 

United Way of Central Georgia's three focus areas include education, income and health.  Education initiatives, such as the Ingram-Pye project, are designed to help children and youth achieve their potential.  Income-related initiatives promote financial stability and independence and health initiatives help improve people's health 

A sustainable community garden

Perdue Farms provided a grant specifically for the community garden project at Ingram-Pye, which will be constructed on land between the school and the neighboring Buck Melton Community Center.  The center is home to The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Central Georgia, which serves students from Ingram-Pye and four other schools. 

"We expect students will use the garden throughout the year and we're working to make it sustainable from the start for the kids," Evans said. 

"We'll have vegetables and dwarf fruit trees, and a curricula on healthy eating and how the farm-to-market process works." 

The garden will have raised beds, drip irrigation systems, storage benches, solar lighting and an outdoor classroom.  While the garden will be open to all community members, a portion will be set aside for students at Ingram-Pye. 

According to Evans, most of the pieces for the garden are in place in terms of funding, equipment and plant purchases, and volunteer labor.  Lowes will supply materials at cost and volunteer labor.  A ribbon-cutting ceremony is tentatively planned for the second week of November.

More information on the United Way of Central Georgia is available at  More information on Leadership Macon is available at

About Barbara Kieker

Barbara Kieker is a freelance writer who writes on business-related topics for a number of web-based properties. She also provides communications services to Fortune 500 corporations, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.